Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Part two: A 1940s weekend on the Holme front

Feeling a bit disgruntled that so far our 1940s weekend had less ‘1940s’ and more ‘weekend’ about it, we were thrilled to discover that a nearby village was also doing a 1940s weekend. It sounded great, but then again, that is what I thought about Rougham… However, this was the real 1940s deal.

The village of Holme (near Peterborough) gave itself a thorough 1940s make over, that included re-enactors strolling through the streets, vintage and military vehicles driving through, the Home Guard occasionally marching past and stalls selling pure 1940s nostalgia. Nearly everyone we looked at was in 1940s costume, whether soldier or civilian, and were clearly enjoying themselves greatly.

I engaged the owner of one stall in conversation about what brand headache pills 1940s people would use, and his style of conversation threw me a little, until I realised he was staying true to character and pretending he was back in the past. I only realised this when he said he hadn’t had a banana for ever so long, I was about to helpfully point out the direction of Tesco’s before it dawned on me. Ah, I said. Righty-ho.

I also sidled into a conversation about lawnmowers with a man who had a display of 1940s lawn-cutters whirling and cranking in his garden. One in particular looked lethal if it was started, sort of like a spinning circular disc on the base that apparently used to ‘whiz off’’ occasionally, to the detriment of limbs. I can see why that one didn’t become too popular… Of course, the reason for the sidling was to find out whether normal folk (i.e non rich) would have motorised lawnmowers, as I needed something to cover a conversation in a garden. However, it turns out they wouldn't, so I am sticking to my gramophone, which is even better now, as I can use a song to help create the mood. The only mood conjured by those lawnmowers would have been something like fearful anxiety for my wellbeing.

I took some photographs on the slow non-digital camera, so it will be a while yet before they appear, but needless to say, it was a great place to go to see some living history and get a feel for the era. I also loved the fact that when some of the re-enactors talked to me, I could talk knowledgeably back at them, oh yes, I am beginning to think I know my 1940s stuff.

Shame this week (chapter 7 no less) has skipped on to 1956… Fifties anyone?

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